We rely on your reports of any natural or wildlife related items of interest.
Please pass your reports to Iain or John. See our Contacts page for details.

Latest News

If you wish to join our club (and new members are very welcome) you can now download an application form from here. The form is in Microsoft Word format so should be readily viewable. The forms will also be available per the usual outlets.

Jock's well loved presentation "Birds of our Rivers, Hills & Moors" is available on DVD, for the modest price of £5.00, from our local 'paper shop' (A M Grieves, Newsagents) on the High Street. If you cannot get one there, please contact John per our 'Contacts' page and we can get one to you.

There has been an unwelcome incident involving visitors to our reserve - they left the gate into the field open resulting in two groups of sheep, deliberately kept apart, mixing together and causing considerable extra work for the farmer who has, understandably, now secured the gate to stop access. This handy route into our reserve is therefore no longer available. The negligence of those responsible has resulted in great inconvenience to many. Visitors must now either enter the field at the 'kissing gate' (about 100 yards down from the main road) or, if coming in at the finger post gate, follow the line of trees alongside the reserve and enter via the stile.
Farm gates are closed for a reason - if you open one to get through, CLOSE IT PROPERLY BEHIND YOU
Do NOT climb over gates or fences.

Clicking on an image on our pages will give normally give an enlarged version (maximum 640 x 480 pixels approximately). Higher resolution images may be available on request (subject to the copyright holder's agreement) - contact John for details.

15th May 2016
Latest update from Iain -
Ken Hines reported a Swallow at Hope Johnstone Park on the 12th (April) and the following day at the Reserve were a Kingfisher, a Sand Martin, 6 Teal, Jay, 2 Willow Warbler and 2 Chiffchaff. Billy Davidson reported a male Black Grouse in the Craiks Craig area which was a good sighting. Tom Thomson reported a pair of Lesser Redpoll in his garden on the 17th. I watched a female Sparrowhawk hunting in Crosslaw Burn on the 18th and while out on my paper deliveries I was noticing several Song Thrush around. There were 10 Cormorant at the Community Reserve on the 19th and I saw an Orange Tip butterfly along the Dumfries by pass. On the 20th at our Reserve were Willow Warblers, Sand Martins and Swallows and a Peacock butterfly while on the Community Reserve were 8 Cormorant, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Moorhen, 2 Canada Geese and a Common Sandpiper. Garry had a singing Yellowhammer just south of the Green Frog which was notable. Dave Bradshaw had Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler singing around Moffat Coop and along the River Annan at the Station Park were another Blackcap and singing Chiffchaff. The following day Dave also had a male Redstart and a Willow Warbler at Bankend Wood and another Willow Warbler at Cornal Court in Beattock while Ken Hines had a House Martin over Smiths Way in Beattock. Another report from the Beattock area came from Alan Beaven who reported a Peregrine and a Common Sandpiper feeding on mud at the pond edge of Craigielands Pond/Moffat Manor Country Park and Dave had 4/6 House Martins over Beattock village. A Sedge Warbler was singing at the Reserve on the 30th and there were 2 Linnet in a garden at Crosslaw Burn. On the 1st May Dave had a Swift over Beattock and 2 House Martins while Tom Thomson was now getting up to 8 Lesser Redpoll. Dave reported 2 Willow Warbler and a Redstart in Bankend Wood on the 3rd May and the following day in and around a field along the Barnhill road he saw 5 male and a female Wheatear, 6 Meadow Pipt, Pied Wagtail, Sand Marin and a House Martin. Ken Hines had 4 Swift over Telford House, Beattock and Dave had 10 House Martin over Beattock Village and I saw 40 Pink Footed Geese over Moffat while doing my paper deliveries. Pat McWhan reported that an Otter had cleaned out her pond of Koi carp along Ballplay Road and a lady at the top of St Ninians Road had also reported lost fish to Otter and a few days later Ron Lewis-Smith from Torr Lodge, Alton Road, also had his pond cleaned out by Otter too. Dave saw in and around the Evan Water at Beattock a male Goosander, Grey Wagtail and a Dipper feeding young under the bridge. At our Reserve he also saw 2 Willow Warbler, Grey Heron, male Pied Flycatcher and 2 Sand Martin. A single Greylag Goose flew over Moffat early in the morning. The first 2 Spotted Flycatchers of the year were on the Reserve on the evening of the 8th. On the 9th Dave reported the following around Beattock bridge/Evan Water area : 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Siskin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Swallow, 7 Swift and a female Lesser Redpoll. At Moffat Manor CP Dave also had 2 Mute Swan, Moorhen, Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Long tailed Tit, Blackcap and Robin. John Smith reported a female Pied Flycatcher on Greenwood Hall side of his fenceline and Mrs Ross reported both Red Squirrel and young Brown Hare which was good to know. Ken Hines saw a Green Woodpecker and 2 Wheatear near Barntimpin, Raehills, which was really good and also a Common Sandpiper and 2 Spotted Flycatcher along River Evan at Beattock. While heading down to the Reserve on the 14th I spottted 2 Tree Sparrow at the feeding station at Jocks Hide. Also on the Reserve were 3 Treecreeper, 3 Sedge Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, quite a few Sand Martins and the 1st young Moorhens.
- and a P.S. later - Ann Gibbard was up Carrifran valley yesterday (14th May) and reported hearing a Cuckoo which was good. Two other records were a brief one heard at the Community Reserve from Darren Flint and Alan Henderson heard one near Ae village where he is working.

And an additional comment from John regarding his Italy visit - forgot to include Cuckoo on the list of birds, they were heard frequently. Also, Jean Kirk reports that just after we left she found Porcupine quills on her patio right beside the house, so confirming that they are still there/

10th May 2016
From John -
Not long returned from 10 days or so in Italy. Those of you who have followed my previous reports will be happy to hear that there was a dramatic increase in the number of birds seen there compared to previous years. Weather could have been kinder - they had an unusually mild winter and quite a warm start to spring. We soon put paid to that, temperatures went down (even frost one morning), wind got up and rain showers quite often! Nevertheless, plants have taken full advantage of the previously good weather and were well on, trees in full leaf and apple blossom on a good show. Not the best for nature watching but the list of sightings includes: Buzzard, Kestrel, Hooded Crow, Magpie, Jay, Cattle Egret, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Hoopoe, Green Woodpecker, Golden Oriole, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Wren. Nightingale, Starling, Scops Owl, Swift, Swallow, House Martin. Also a brief sighting of possibly a Redstart. Quite a few butterflies about, mainly small brownish-orange types that remains unidentified but also, very occasionally, Red Admiral, Scarce Swallowtail and a yellow one, possibly a Brimstone. Only a few Bumblebees about, including the all-black Carpenter Bee. Creatures with four feet are, of course, very scarce and are mainly lizards, mice, moles and the occasional unwelcome rat. No signs of porcupine this year though, nor of fox. Jean Kirk, the neighbour with the magic woodland, has Nutria (Koypu) busy damming the stream just outside her boundary fence and, from the muddy water, must have been active just before we passed by. She assures me that she still has porcupine on her property.
I took my night camera with me and set it up behind our house, setting it to take a picture approximately every minute. Last year I recorded what appeared to be a young boar and a hedgehog. My son, with a similar camera, has also recorded fox and porcupine in the past. I recorded another hedgehog again this year but didn't really expect much beyond that and the local cats and dogs. However, bingo!! One night, over a period of about an hour and a half, I got something like 35 images of a considerable family, adults and young, of Wild Boar! Images taken using infrared flash and a slow shutter speed are seldom all that sharp. I have selected eight of the better ones and have posted them on a page on my own personal webspace. You can see them by clicking here.

9th May 2016
Our Coffee Morning raised a grand, very grand, total of £1425. With no carving being raffled this year, this greatly exceeded all expectations. Our usual thanks go to all involved, whether by manning the stalls, providing teas and coffees or by making donations to the sales and raffles. The continuing support from you, the public, is very much appreciated.

12th April 2016
Updates from Iain covering from late January to present -
On the 30th January, Margaret Povall had a Red Squirrel at The Whins which was the first for many months and Muriel Scott also had one at Wamphray after a long absence. An Oystercatcher on the raft at the Community Reserve on February 6th and 2 Goldcrest at the Reserve. Garry Tait had 40 plus Crossbill over the Greenhillstairs on the 12th and three Red Kites in the Lockerbie area where there are apparently 5 birds. At the Community Reserve on the 20th were 15 Oystercatcher, 9 Little Grebe, 28 Mallard and 2 Canada Geese and John Smith had a male Brambling in his garden. On the 24th at the Community Reserve were 21 Oystercatcher, 8 Little Grebe, 15 Mallard, 4 Teal and a Grey Heron while the following day Sandra Wilson saw a Grey Squirrel at Newbank. A pair of Brambling in John's garden on the 26th and I saw a Magpie over the PISSC the following day. A Snipe was seen in a field at Rogermoor by Tom Thomson on the 28th and while I was out delivering papers on the 29th a male Goosander flew over Meadowbank Rise. To start off March on the 1st, Roger Grant reported a Cormorant, 8 Canada Geese and a Greylag Goose on the pond at Burrance of Courance. Garry had 7 Snow Bunting near Elvanfoot on the 2nd while a Curlew was heard by John Smith he following day and a singing Song Thrush. Lesley Robson from Hillside Terrace reported having a Red Legged Partridge in the garden and three in early December. An influx of Siskins was noted and I saw over 50 at Meadowbank Rise and over 100 on the trees at the bottom of Dundanion Road. A number of Skylarks were heard at the Community Reserve by Garry on the 6th. Janet McConnell reported a male Bullfinch and a female Brambling in her garden on the 8th and Garry reported a good wader passage with many Oystercatcher, good numbers of Curlew and a few Golden Plover. The Oystercatcher flock at the Community Reserve had increased to 27 birds by the 9th and Don and Jean Hunter-Grant had 53 Frogs in their two ponds on the 11th. At the Reserve on the 12th were a Cormorant, 10 Teal, 3 Goldcrest and a Grey Wagtail. There were 19 Whooper Swans on the Community Reserve on the 14th and a Magpie at Meadowbank Rise. At the Reserve on the 16th were 25 Teal while on the Community Reserve were 6 Canada Geese, 2 Mute Swans, 10 Mallard, 2 Tufted Duck, 7 Little Grebe and 25 Oystercatcher. A count of 8 Oystercatcher on the Reserve was noteworthy on the 19th. While on a wee road trip on the 29th myself and Lorna saw 2 Wheatear at the Grey Mares Tail, at St Mays Loch were 10 Oystercatcher and 2 Mute Swan, Megget reservoir had over 100 Common Gull and 20 Oystercatcher, while Talla had 16 Whooper Swans and 2 Goldeneye. While working at the Reserve on the 30th we all heard a Chiffchaff calling and earlier in the morning 20 Whooper Swans and 11 Canada Geese flew over Moffat and I saw my first Brambling of the winter at Craig Ghelt, Reid Street among dozens of Siskins. John Smith spotted a Swallow over the Reserve on the 6th April with up to 3 calling Chiffchaff and 2 Canada Geese and Alan Beaven had a Pergrine mobbing a Buzzard over Craigielands Wood. Up to 14 Sand Martin were over the Community Reserve lochan too. The Ospreys have also returned to Moffat Water valley. At the Reserve on the 9th were calling Chiffchaff and returning Willow Warbler with a Kingfisher on the wetland and 2 Canada Geese. John had a probable Blackcap in his garden. Dave Bradshaw had a Swallow at Milton Farm and had 3 Golden Plover, 16 Sand Martin, a Peregrine Falcon and good numbers of Common Gulls on DaerReservoir/Watermeetings area. While down at the Community Reserve on the evening of the 10th with Lorna, we saw 11 Cormorants roosting in one of the big fir trees and 14 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Mallard, 1 Pink Footed Goose, 9 Oystercatcher, 4 Little Grebe, 2 Moorhen, Sand Martins and 5 Swallows over the Lochan, singing Willow Warbler and an Osprey flying over and up Moffat Water was good.

5th April 2016 (2)
A message from D.Lindsay to say a Red Kite seen near the 'Beeftub' today. Also a Kingfisher seen on the Community Reserve.

5th April 2016
Two annual reports from Andy Riches, always worth a good read:

Castle & Hightae Loch Report for 2015
County Mammal Report for 2015

DGERC - This summer DGERC and the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere natural heritage staff are looking for volunteers to help find water voles in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere (GSAB). If you would like register an interest (no commitment) and find out more please email Wendy Fenton at wendy@gsabiosphere.org.uk.

From Darren Flint, Community Nature Reserve events for your calendar:
16 April: 10-1pm, Reserve Spring Clean - volunteer event to start signing up people to help out. Paint the bird hides, tidy paths, cut back undergrowth by hides etc.
7 May: 8.45pm, Bat talk and walk
10 Aug: 11-12.30pm, Butterfly count and make a butterfly - bring along a picnic
10 Sept: 7.15pm, Bat walk and talk
Assistance will be needed in setting up and manning some of the events. If anyone is available to help out, Darren can be contacted on Tel:(01683) 221471, Mob:07971790847,
Email: moffatcommunitynaturereserve@gmail.com
or contact John and your details will be passed on.

28th February 2016
Dave Bradshaw visited the Community Reserve on 23rd Feb and sighted 3 Canada Geese, 20 Mallard, 7 Little grebes & 19 Oystercatchers. He got some superb photographs too and a small selection is shown below. The first shows the Canada Geese in courtship mode. The second shows a few of the Oystercatchers on one of the rafts, just returned from feeding in the fields as the rather dirty bills show! The third is a typical view of an Oystercatcher in flight but, if you look carefully, it apears to be carrying something, possibly a worm, in its beak. The last picture shows a Little Grebe just resurfaced after a successful fishing dive - you can see the small fish hanging from its beak.

13th February 2016
From Dave Bradshaw - with the sunshine in the morning on Wednesday (3rd Feb) got over to the caravan park (Craigielands) to try and get a close shot of the Little Grebes but they stay in the distance knowing your there. The swan has started building her nest and the 4 Little Gebes were making a lot of noise. Attached the best images of what I took. The cob Mute Swan and a Lttle Grebe. The Bramblings got up to 3 birds but have not seen any the last couple of days.

29th January 2016
From Iain, update on sightings so far this year -
Goosander's have been seen on the River Annan and the Millburn on a number of occasions by various people. A returning Song Thrush was seen by Garry Tait on the road down to the Community Reserve on the 6th, while the same location had 22 Mallard, a male Tufted Duck and 5 Little Grebe on the 9th with a number of Redwing on Dyke Farm Nature Reserve and upwards of 1000 Pinkfeet moving southwards. Local shooters were reporting very low numbers of Mallard, Teal, Snipe and Woodcock in the region this Winter. Two Otters were seen by Alistair Hepburn near his garage beside the River Annan. At the Community Reserve on the 13th were 25 Mallard, 6 Teal, female Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebe and 3 Moorhen. There was a belated report of a pair of Red Kite and a pair of Golden Eagle in the Earshaig area up the Crooked Road which was most interesting. At our Reserve on the 16th were 7 Moorhen, 12 Mallard and 2 Buzzard while on the Community Reserve were 33 Mallard, 5 Teal, male Tufted Duck, female Goldeneye, 4 Moorhen and 5 Little Grebe. A male Reed Bunting was photographed by Tom Thomson in his garden at Meadowbank on the 17th. Another Red Kite was seen by Garry on the 19th in the Dyke Farm and Barnhill area. Andy Dickson at Woodfoot is regularly getting upwards of 25 Tree Sparrows in his garden according to Garry after paying Andy a visit. Down at the Reserve on the 20th were a flock in excess of 100 Siskin, 28 Mallard, 8 Teal and a Mute Swan while over on the Community Reserve were a pair of Tufted Duck, male Goldeneye and 3 Mute Swan. At Dyke Farm Nature Reserve on the 23rd were 2 Buzzard, male Sparrowhawk, 2 Grey Heron, 7 Moorhen, 27 Teal and 24 Mallard with over 1200 Pinkfeet overhead. Over on the Community Reserve were 12 Snipe, 24 Mallard, 8 Little Grebe and 2 Meadow Pipit. A Barn Owl was reported by Jimmy Aitchison at Raecleuch which was an interesting report. While coming out of Claudios Restaurant with Lorna on the 24th we heard an Oystercatcher overhead about 9.30pm. At our Reserve on the 27th were 2 Kingfisher, 2 Reed Bunting, 4 Grey Heron, 28 Mallard and 9 Teal.

20th January 2016
Another quiet winter for migrants so far. However, there seems to be an increase in numbers of our commoner birds coming into our gardens. John, for example, has seen quite significant numbers of Blue, Coal and Great Tits coming to the feeders, far more than in previous years.
Dave Bradshaw had 3 Bullfinches in the front garden just before the end of last year with another in the backgarden next day. 3 Redwings on New Years day in Cornal court, Beattock, 7 Longtailed Tits by the railwaybridge and 4 Little Grebes on the lake in the caravan site. On 11th January, he managed to photograph this Nuthatch in the back garden. On 19th January, a male Brambling (photo) with the Chaffinchs in Craigie Avenue/Cornal Court, 14 Redwings on the cycle track and a Grey Wagtail at the Caravan park lake outflow.

All entries for 2015 have been archived. View by clicking here or on menu at left.